Early in April 2019, Armenia’s first registered transgender woman Lilit Martirosyan delivered a historic speech in her country’s Parliament. She was the first member of the LGBTQ community of Armenia to achieve this feat. But her address has sparked a backlash in the country, with many asking her to be “burned alive”.

According to a report in The Guardian, people have been staging anti-LGBTQ protests outside the country’s national assembly and some parliamentarians have called for her to be “burned alive”.

“We want...females to be females and males to be males. You can’t mix female with male. It’s shameful,” Armenian politician Vartan Ghukasian was quoted as saying by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

In her address, Martirosyan outlined the frequent crimes against the LGBTQ community and how they were “tortured, raped, kidnapped, subjected to physical violence, burned, immolated, knifed, subjected to murder attempt, killed, emigrated, and robbed”. Speaking to The Guardian, she said, “In the post-revolutionary Armenia, hate has no place.”

Armenia decriminalised homosexuality in 2003 but the community continues to face discrimination.